The gig economy is broken.
Uber, SkipTheDishes, and other gig economy services are built upon the exploitation of gig workers - who are often paid under minimum wage with little to no benefits. Further, the spread of COVID-19 has decreased trust in allowing strangers to handle our transportation and shopping needs.
Neighbourdeeds is a personal shopping service with the mission to reinvent the gig economy. Instead of using real-time demand to schedule workers, Neighbourdeeds allows customers to sign up for recurring shopping deliveries from trusted individuals in the neighbourhood. The service was designed to facilitate trust between the worker and the customer, as well as to help provide a reliable and recurring source of income for gig economy workers.
The workflow is simple. Customers begin by a location-based search to find trusted shoppers in their area. They can then pick and choose available gig workers (depending on schedule and their biography) to sign up for recurring grocery/shopping deliveries.
During the scheduled time (weekly, for example), gig workers would drop off the requested items. The customer and shopper would then continue to collaborate on future deliveries. This recurring model creates a layer of trust and understanding between the customer and service provider. This results in higher satisfaction (for the customer) and a more reliable source of income (for the gig worker).
A service such as this is poised to succeed in the new COVID-19 reality. Given the relative danger of highly trafficked areas, an increasing number of consumers are resorting to online grocery shopping for their essentials. Additionally, the social distancing measures have created a need to find community, trust, and support in the services that we use on a daily basis.
Neighbourdeeds is currently an idea to begin transforming the gig economy to be fair and inclusive. I believe that this service can be easily implemented and scaled with an initial pilot project in current service areas operated by FaceDrive and Hi-Ride.
An initial POC can be implemented with a Vue/React front-end and a Node/Python back-end with a Elasticsearch database hosted in AWS or GCP. This simple implementation should be able to handle fairly high-volume workloads for our initial pilot.
In the future, we can explore expanding beyond web functionality into mobile applications. I'm very much looking forward to pursuing this project further with FaceDrive and Hi-Ride.